Aphthous ulcers according to Chinese Medicine

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Aphthous ulcers factsheet

In Chinese Medicine, aphthous ulcers can be associated with three so-called "patterns of disharmony". Chinese Medicine sees the body as a system, not a sum of isolated parts. A "pattern" is when the system's harmony is disrupted. It is not equivalent to the Western concept of "disease", as a matter of fact here aphthous ulcers can be caused by three different patterns.

To understand whether someone's aphthous ulcers might be caused by a given pattern, one needs to look for signs and symptoms associated with the pattern beyond what one might typically experience from aphthous ulcers alone. For instance when aphthous ulcers is caused by the pattern Dryness in Large Intestine, patients also experience symptoms such as constipation, thirst, dry stools and dry mouth. Similarly, patients with Dryness in Large Intestine typically exhibit fine (Xi) pulses as well as a pale, red tongue.

We've listed below a description of the three patterns associated with aphthous ulcers so that you can start to get an understanding of the various possibilities according to Chinese Medicine.

Once identified, patterns are often treated using herbal formulas. Drinking herbal infusions is the most common remedy in Chinese Medicine, together with acupuncture. Here we detail below three formulas that can help treat the various patterns associated with aphthous ulcers, depending on which pattern fits your profile.

The three "patterns of disharmony" associated with aphthous ulcers

The Large Intestine is a so-called "Fu" Organ. Learn more about the Large Intestine in Chinese Medicine

Dryness in Large Intestine

Pulse type(s): Fine (Xi)

Tongue color: Pale, Red

Recommended herbal formula: Zeng Ye Tang

Symptoms: Thirst Dry mouth Dizziness Dry stools Dry throat Bad breath Constipation Thin body lacking strength

Aphthous ulcers might be due to Dryness in Large Intestine if the condition is paired with typical pattern symptoms such as constipation, thirst, dry stools and dry mouth. Similarly, patients with Dryness in Large Intestine typically exhibit fine (Xi) pulses as well as a pale, red tongue.

Read more about Dryness in Large Intestine here

The Pericardium is a so-called "Zang" Organ. Learn more about the Pericardium in Chinese Medicine

Heat invading the Pericardium

Pulse type(s): Rapid (Shu), Wiry (Xian), Fine (Xi)

Tongue color: Reddish-Purple

Recommended herbal formula: Niu Huang Qing Xin Wan

Symptoms: Fever Irritability Restlnessness Delirious speech Impaired consciousness General sensation of unease

Aphthous ulcers might be due to Heat invading the Pericardium if the condition is paired with typical pattern symptoms such as fever, irritability, restlnessness and general sensation of unease. Similarly, patients with Heat invading the Pericardium typically exhibit rapid (Shu), wiry (Xian) or fine (Xi) pulses as well as a reddish-purple tongue.

Read more about Heat invading the Pericardium here

Yin and Blood Deficiency

Aphthous ulcers might be due to Yin and Blood Deficiency if the condition is paired with typical pattern symptoms such as irritability, palpitations with anxiety, fatigue and insomnia with very restless sleep. Similarly, patients with Yin and Blood Deficiency typically exhibit rapid (Shu) or fine (Xi) pulses as well as a red tongue with partial absence of coating.

Read more about Yin and Blood Deficiency here

The three herbal formulas that might help with aphthous ulcers

Zeng Ye Tang

Source date: 1798 AD

Number of ingredients: 3 herbs

Key actions: Nourishes Yin and Essence. Lubricates Dryness.

Why might Zeng Ye Tang help with aphthous ulcers?

Because it is a formula often recommended to help treat Dryness in Large Intestine, a pattern sometimes associated with aphthous ulcers. If it looks like you might suffer from Dryness in Large Intestine, this formula might help (although please seek confirmation with a professional practitioner beforehand).

Read more about Zeng Ye Tang here

Niu Huang Qing Xin Wan

Source date: 1568 AD

Number of ingredients: 6 herbs

Key actions: Clears Heat and resolves Toxicity. Calms the Mind. Opens up the Orifices.

Why might Niu Huang Qing Xin Wan help with aphthous ulcers?

Because it is a formula often recommended to help treat Heat invading the Pericardium, a pattern sometimes associated with aphthous ulcers. If it looks like you might suffer from Heat invading the Pericardium, this formula might help (although please seek confirmation with a professional practitioner beforehand).

Read more about Niu Huang Qing Xin Wan here

Tian Wang Bu Xin Dan

Source date: 16th century

Number of ingredients: 14 herbs

Key actions: Nutritive tonic: Nourishes Yin, Blood and Vital Essence of the Heart and Kidney. Clears away pathogenic Heat, clears Deficient Heat. Sedative.

Why might Tian Wang Bu Xin Dan help with aphthous ulcers?

Because it is a formula often recommended to help treat Yin and Blood Deficiency, a pattern sometimes associated with aphthous ulcers. If it looks like you might suffer from Yin and Blood Deficiency, this formula might help (although please seek confirmation with a professional practitioner beforehand).

Read more about Tian Wang Bu Xin Dan here